It was to be an important nostalgic journey. Back in time. Back to my cultural roots. Back to where my grandfather had lived before 1939.

Krakow had been a thriving intellectual city in that decade and my grandfather had been a respected member its large successful Jewish community.

An honest pawnbroker specialised in silver, clocks and timepieces. A Freemason who founded a weekly religious philosophical discussion group in the coffee house opposite the synagogue in the original Jewish quarter of  the city.

I walked the ancient cobbled streets in vain looking for that old coffee house, haunted by past voices and ghosts of his past. I stood in front of the 'open once a week' synagogue in the old ghetto trying to visualise the lively community on the Sabbath Eve.

Disillusioned, I observed large groups of young American and Israeli tourists, swarming like ants around the square, eating in the vulgar new cafes and restaurants. They too, in search of their lost heritage in the capitalist post communist world. 

Jilliana Ranicar-Breese c. 2006.  A piece of Creative Writing written after my field trip visit with the University of Sussex, German language department.